What’s a little snow when there’s a baby on the way?
It was November 1992. I drove from Texas to Santa Fe, New Mexico to see the man who was to be my son’s father. I didn’t know I was pregnant, and like a true Texan, I headed north with little concept of weather. I wore a one piece cotton catsuit with a cut-out back, a short leather jacket and high heeled leather boots. Very 90s and fashionable. Not exactly warm. Understand, this was before cell phones with weather forecasts. I did have a CAR PHONE. Yes, we had those. Mine was built into my BMW. But there were no cell towers, so reception was spotty.
The road trip went smoothly until between Clarendon and Claude Texas. Snow started falling, then began blowing sideways straight into my windshield, and then shifted to blow sideways into the passenger side. I managed to keep the little Bavarian car, built for this weather, on the highway when it was blown sideways twice. The third time it lost its footing and was swept sideways off the highway.
Not being accustomed to such weather, I got out and tried to dig the back wheels out of the snow. If you ever find yourself in this predicament, DO NOT attempt this. You can freeze, and it’s not even really doable. Remember, too, that I was in a cotton one-piece and high-heeled boots. Not exactly digging out of snow attire. After giving up digging out, I assessed the situation. Visibility was zero. I could put on all the clothes in my suitcase, and I had a bag of oreo cookies. I might survive.
Big trucks were still passing by, but they couldn’t see me. I started honking each time I heard one coming. They didn’t hear me. I started to cry, and then said out loud, “Stop that! You have to survive.” So I kept honking. Finally a small car heard me and stopped smack in the middle of the highway. There was no pulling over. The man waded over to me, and helped me to their car. They crawled to the town of Claud, and let me out at a gas station, where we called a tow truck. That took two hours of standing around with other fools like me. Amarillo, Texas was closed. Seriously, the only road into Amarillo was closed. A stranded military guy, who had been hitchhiking to Amarillo, and I took my car and went a different route. I made it to Santa Fe the next day. A day later I took a test and we found out we were pregnant. Driving through a blizzard was worth that!
There were two more blizzards with my son in tow as we went to visit his Dad. Nerve wracking doesn’t begin to describe driving with two young boys in the 1997 cadillac I inherited from my mother, past trucks and SUV’s turned upside down beside the road. We saw them spin out in front of us as we drove. We spent the Eve of Christmas Eve in a sleazy hotel in Santa Rosa, grateful to find somewhere that wasn’t booked. But that was the end of a trip where my son snow boarded for the first of many times. As I watched him fly effortlessly down the mountain, I was reminded of the blizzard where I first discovered he was entering my life. It made sense he would love the snow and be a daredevil in it.
My sister and I drove into Santa Fe Christmas Day 2018. The friend who owns the home where we are staying told me that the Universe was telling her I should be here at this time. The 10 hour drive here was nearly perfect except for fog through most of Texas. The weather cleared in New Mexico, and we settled in for a beautiful night in Santa Fe. An evening in the hot tub watching stars brilliant in a dark velvet sky was the perfect end to the long drive.
The next morning it was snowing by 8:00 a.m. Visibility was down to a few feet by 11:00. We waited out the storm, which fortunately ended that afternoon, and went to the Santa Fe Plaza, wandering through enchanting scenes of snow, adobe, and luminarias. Huge snowflakes highlighted our hair. The next day the sun shone, as it does 360 days of the year in Santa Fe. We spent part of the day at Meow Wolf, an amazing creation by local artists, and a large maze of interactive experience. We spent an early evening at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame bar. I took my son there his whole life because it is also a restaurant with a playground, and they provided toy horses and cowgirls/boys to keep him entertained.
We were home by 7:00 to get in before the next storm which began at 8:00. My sister is much more prudent than I. Hence my three blizzard driving experiences, and our currently safe trip, since she won’t let me drive and won’t drive in snowstorm conditions.
My sister and I wanted to get in as much of our traditional Santa Fe activities, and Meow Wolf before the following days of 6 and 8 degrees respectively. Today and tomorrow will most likely be days of staying in and writing. With limited time, visibility and mobility, will I discover why I am supposed to be here this time? Is it simply to have forced time and space to write? Or will I discover true love finally? Anything is possible. After all, one of the times I came through a blizzard I came home with a baby.